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Sweat Management: Handling the Heat at Recitals


Forget the sauna — anyone looking to sweat it out should consider volunteering at a dance recital. All those anxious bodies in a tight space lead to one steamy locale. Now that our local recitals have been rescheduled until August — the hottest month of the year — due to COVID-19, I’m already sweating just thinking about how hot we’re all going to get!

One thing that surprised me after my daughter’s first recital was how sweaty she got during the waiting period and performance! I didn’t think little kids could get that warm in an indoor setting. But think about it: They’re wearing a lot of makeup that their skin isn’t used to, their hair is tightly pulled back with dozens of bobby pins, and they’re in itchy costumes. Add in the thick ballet tights and I’m sure we all lose five pounds of water weight in one night.

I was not prepared to feel like I was in an NHL locker room during the dancers’ staging area. It was so sweaty and steamy — when we finally left, I was, literally, a hot mess. After that first experience, I learned a few key tips and tricks to minimize the sweat and make everyone more comfortable during and after the performance. 

First of all, I apply a child-friendly deodorant/antiperspirant to my daughter. It really helps minimize the underarm and body sweat! I also ensure that her hair has extra gel to keep the wispy pieces off of her neck. Nothing is worse than hair sticking to a sweaty face!

I pack a small cooler with some essentials. This includes a freezing cold water bottle to keep my little dancer hydrated and cool. I also stock the cooler with Trader Joe’s Rose Water Facial Toner; it comes in a spray bottle and is meant to keep the face refreshed and cool. It doesn’t mess up her makeup either, and a light mist of the spray really helps to minimize a slick face. The last item in my cooler is The Body Shop’s Peppermint Cooling Foot Spray — this is a definite must-have! Feet that are stuck in tights and dance shoes get so hot; this spray really helps make her feel more comfortable.

In our dance bag, I always bring an extra pair of tights and another under-leotard — especially if she’s in multiple dances. This keeps her feeling fresh and we all know it’s never good to sit in sweat-soaked clothing. I change these items when it’s time for a costume change to keep the energy flowing!

Finally, once the performances are done, it’s time to get comfy. A change of underwear is essential, as well as comfortable sandals and a light, airy, flowy dress. It’s a dream to change into, and her body can start to breathe and air out again! Plus, she’s ready to go to dinner or whatever after-recital activity we have planned.

I also use a lot of the same items for myself, and I always wear a light, flowy dress. Never wear jeans! You’ll regret it, trust me.